Board Makes History With First Election Of Women For Both Chair And Vice Chair
The Board of Legislators began the 2022-2023 legislative term electing District 9 Leg. Catherine Borgia as Chair, and District 6 Leg. Nancy Barr as Vice Chair, during a special meeting Monday night.
Borgia is only the second woman to serve as Chair, following the late Hon. Lois Bronz, who chaired the Board 20 years ago, in 2002-2003. This is the first time in the Board’s history that women will simultaneously fill both the Chair and Vice Chair posts.
The election of Borgia (D – Cortlandt, Croton on Hudson, Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, Peekskill) and Barr (D – Harrison, Rye Brook, Port Chester) followed the swearing in of all 17 legislators. Those sworn in include new Legislators Erika Pierce (D- Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers) in District 2, Jewel Williams Johnson (D – Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Elmsford, Greenburgh) in District 8, and James Nolan (R – Bronxville, Yonkers) in District 15. District 13 Leg. Tyrae Woodson-Samuels (D – Mount Vernon) celebrated his first swearing in to a full term on the Board. Leg. Christopher Johnson (D – Yonkers) will serve as Majority Leader. Leg. Jose Alvarado (D – Yonkers) will serve as Majority Whip. Leg. Margaret Cunzio (C – Mount Pleasant, Pleasantville, North Castle) will serve as Minority Leader. Leg. James Nolan will serve as Minority Whip.
Borgia becomes Chair after a long career in public service: working in the New York State Assembly as a staffer for several years, serving on the Village of Ossining Board of Trustees, and then serving two terms as Supervisor of the Town of Ossining before being elected to the Board of Legislators in 2012.
Borgia served as Chair of the Board’s Government Operations Committee in 2012-2013 and then as the Democratic Majority Leader for the 2014-2015 and 2016-2017 terms. She championed historic, life-changing legislation including the Immigrant Protection Act, Employee Earned Sick Leave, Safe Leave, the Fair Chance to Work Act, Co-op Disclosure, and the Wage History Discrimination Law.
She served as the Board’s Budget and Appropriations Committee Chair for the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 terms. During that time, she worked with the County Executive’s administration and her colleagues on the Board to pass budgets that cut the county’s property tax levy and rebuilt the county’s reserve funds while investing in the county’s infrastructure and providing much needed services for county residents, especially during a global pandemic.
Borgia said, “I am humbled by the support and confidence of my colleagues who elected me as Chair of the Board of Legislators. I look forward to working with the County Executive, our new leadership team, the entire legislature, and our partners in federal, state and local government, to lead Westchester through this pandemic and on to better days. We will continue to provide the resources needed to help every resident of Westchester thrive.”
Nancy Barr comes to the office of Vice Chair having served on the Blind Brook School Board for six years, including as President and Vice President. Barr was first elected to the Board of Legislators for the 2018-2019 term.
Since joining the Board, Barr has worked diligently on environmental issues, including passage of a ban on expanded polystyrene food containers and advocating for the expansion of the county’s compostable waste program. She has worked to protect county residents by introducing and passing the Wage Theft Law and championing the creation of the county’s Advisory Board on People with Disabilities. She was instrumental in raising the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 years old.
Barr has served as Chair of the Law and Major Contracts and Environment and Health Committees, and represents the legislature on the Airport Advisory Board, Soil and Water Conservation Board, and the Farmland Agriculture Board.
Barr said, “I am honored to have been selected by my colleagues to serve as Vice Chair of the Board for the 2022-2023 term. We are fortunate to have a Board comprised of many intelligent and dedicated individuals and I am looking forward to working with all of them to improve people’s lives in Westchester County. I am especially excited to serve with Chairwoman Borgia, as she has been an exemplary role model for me over the last four years. I believe that together we will be strong advocates for a safer, stronger and more sustainable Westchester.”